Caitlin Moyer was dumbfounded to find herself in the position she was a few years ago: in Los Angeles, capturing the moment Hank the dog – the Brewers’ unofficial mascot, whom they’d adopted after finding the stray at their spring training facility in 2014 – was receiving the CW Network’s "Dog of the Year" award from Terrell Owens and Paris Hilton.
"Never did I think my career in baseball would lead me to L.A. with a dog, Paris Hilton and Terrell Owens," Moyer says, recalling the World Dog Awards show in January 2015.
Since graduating from Marquette in 2004, Moyer had been working in the Brewers’ marketing department, but in late 2013 she took on a role as the full-time overseer of Milwaukee’s newly launched social media department. In fact, she was the social media department, controlling the team’s fledgling Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as the director of new media.
Since the start of 2014, Moyer’s department has grown – albeit just by one – while the accounts have also blossomed, with more than one million Facebook likes, over 500,000 Twitter followers and another 200,000 Instagram followers. Along with the rise in social media attention, the demands of the job have increased. Moyer and New Media Coordinator Aaron Oberley work to capture every Brewers moment they can and deliver it to the fans. They are the team bringing you the team.
For Moyer and Oberley, the day begins at 9 a.m., as many jobs do. But around 3 p.m., their day takes a dramatic shift from that of their fellow corporate Americans, as they head down to the field at Miller Park to being to cover the happenings surrounding the Brewers.
"Sometimes we have an agenda, sometimes we don’t," Moyer says. "Sometimes I am carrying a bobblehead and a T-shirt and some other weird props. Our beat writers make fun of me and are always like, ‘What is in Caitlin’s bag today?’
"Other times you are just sitting there filming and trying to capture lightning in a bottle, and if something happens, the guy is dancing and you get a funny gif out of it."
That’s when the real work begins. Moyer and Oberley work to capture and post everything before, during and after the game, instantaneously bringing content to the fans. In particular, younger fans, a demographic Major League Baseball is desperately trying to attract.
"I do think it is very important to focus our Instagram strategy, where we have a younger audience, our Snapchat strategy, our Twitter, always keeping it more in touch," Moyer says. "I feel like it is part of my job to be up on pop culture, so we can make references that will resonate with our fan base.
"I do think baseball struggles in that area, and social media is one way we can try to improve that and bridge the gap. We know people aren’t always sitting down and watching the whole game, unfortunately, but we can show some of the best highlights, so it is must-watch television."
Social media is an addictive stimulant, and Moyer and Oberley feel that firsthand. It can be "tough to turn it off," Moyer says, especially when things are going well for the team, and it makes for a sometimes-frenetic lifestyle.
"After a walk-off victory, I have so much content to pump out," she says. "The adrenaline is flowing. We go back to the office, we have to get the highlight cut, we have to post photos, so we are staggering it, coming up with copy, and then it’s 11:30 at night and I’m going home and I’m not ready for bed, even though I have to get up the next morning and be in 12 hours from now.
"I’m checking the comments; are people reacting the way we want them to react? It is very hard to turn off. That is where it’s great there are two of us, so we can build in a little bit of downtime."
In many ways, working the Brewers’ accounts seems like a dream job for a baseball fan, but social media is a beast that must constantly be fed.
"Nights, weekends, holidays, it doesn’t matter. There is a baseball game, and we are on," Moyer says. "Even though it’s 9 to 5 in the offseason, you are still posting things in off-hours, monitoring the accounts, and we get alerts every time one of our players tweets, so we make sure there is nothing amiss there. It never really sleeps.
"Having two of us can afford us a little bit of downtime – just a little – but we love what we do, so it is a tradeoff."
Oberley, whose first year with the organization was as a member of the Brew Crew in 2011, the last time Milwaukee made the postseason, agrees.
"The energy in the ballpark when we were in the playoffs, there is nothing that replaces that," he says. "I don’t need drugs because I got that. … I’m good.
"Every day I try to have a moment of, ‘this job is really cool.’ About 5 percent of the time it feels like work, and you really feel that 5 percent when the rest is so good. But it is really easy to do the 5 percent when it’s still crazy. This is ridiculous. They shouldn’t let me do this. How did I fool them this long? I try to appreciate it as much as I can."
This year has been arguably the most successful for the Brewers’ social media team. Before the season began, a rendition of the "Sandlot," acted out by several Milwaukee players, went viral. There was the team's hilarious "Dumb and Dumber" spoof. Then there were the 20 million fan votes the accounts helped generate to get Jesús Aguilar into the All-Star Game as the Final Man winner. Plus a lot more.
Along the way, the accounts have taken on a more ambitious tone.
"A lot of clubs get a lot of notoriety or accolades for having a snarky, sarcastic voice," Moyer says. "That wasn’t us till recently. You will notice we (are) poking the bear a little bit more, being a little more edgy, but I think you need to earn that by the play on the field.
"If you were just talking smack willy-nilly and your team is 20-60, that doesn’t fly. When you are right there in the pack, I think fans really enjoy seeing that banter and that back and forth."
The All-Star break is over, the second half begins now and the Brewers find themselves 2.5 games back of the Cubs in the NL Central division. The rest of the season offers plenty of intrigue – will the Brewers be able to hang on for a playoff spot? Who will they acquire at the trade deadline? What will be their next home run celebration? – and plenty of opportunities for social media success.
No matter what happens, you can expect the team behind the team to bring you every moment.